Software-as-a-service has become a commonplace practice for businesses globally over the last few years, with a reported 78% increase of SaaS spending in just the one year between 2017 and 2018.
Despite this clear growth in cloud computing, leading businesses to become quickly dependent on the cloud applications used for their daily communications and data management, studies show that many organisations are still failing to exploit the benefits of cloud backup.
This article aims to outline why exactly businesses are still hesitant to trust the cloud for their data backup needs, and whether on-premise backup can match up to the benefits and SaaS compatibility of Cloud-to-Cloud Backup.
On-Premise vs Cloud-to-Cloud Backup
Before we jump into the differing benefits and risks associated with these two solutions, lets define what these terms actually mean, and the business needs they are fundamentally built to address.
On-premise backups create a copy of your hardware data, which is then stored on some form of physical device such as backup tapes or disks. As the name suggests, these storage devices are typically kept within the business premises for quick access and complete management control.
Cloud-to-cloud backups are specifically designed to support SaaS users by backing up data from one cloud to another – or, in other words, from an SaaS environment to third-party backup storage. These data storage centres are typically secured with encryption and can be accessed from any device with an internet connection, introducing flexibility for multi-site structures and remote workers.
So, if cloud-to-cloud backup is purposefully built for SaaS data protection, why are more users not implementing this solution? Simply put, organisations that deal with highly sensitive data like to have total control over these protections, so leaving it under the supervision of third parties can spark concerns of potential security breaches or negligence.
Infrastructure, Configuration and Ease of Use
With on-premise backup, the user themselves is responsible for the entire infrastructure of the product, including initial installation and deployment of servers. On-premise users would also find themselves responsible for the configuration of the software, such as managing the organisation’s Office 365 accounts and login details, as well as overlooking the scheduling of backups.
For some companies this level of customisability and autonomy can be a great benefit, but those without a significant internal technical team may struggle to achieve the most effective setup for their needs.
In contrast, cloud-to-cloud backup offers a solution with no setup or installation required, making it much better suited for smaller companies without the dedicated on-site IT team, or those who simply can’t afford to take time away from other pressing matters. Most C2C backup services can be fully automated with customisable schedules, whilst also including the option to backup on-demand whenever necessary.
Storage, Retention & Recovery
In terms of storage, which directly correlates to the scalability of an organisations’ data, on-premise backup is limited depending on a company’s financial output. This is because a business’ ability to increase the amount data they are protecting entirely depends on how many physical storage devices they decide to purchase.
However, on a positive note, on-site backup solutions boast fast recovery times due to the fact that they are already stored close at hand, so data doesn’t need to be transmitted between different networks.
Cloud-to-cloud backup services often include unlimited storage and retention plans by matching the capacity of whatever services or devices the customer chooses to back up to its data centres. Not only does this give companies the peace of mind that all of their data is protected for as long as they wish, but it also promotes easy scalability.
Recovery is also made simple with the cloud, as backed up data can be accessed from any device with an internet connection, giving businesses the flexibility to customise their own access policies across different locations, rather than requiring requests to be passed through the IT team.
Administration & Maintenance
With the hands-on control and customisation that on-site backup grants customers, also comes more demanding ongoing maintenance. Some of this upkeep includes constant monitoring of hardware health, network consumption, and security logs.
Although this can benefit companies in a sense that they are always the first to notice any issues with their backup solution, meaning they don’t need to rely on any third-parties to act quickly and effectively, but this high-level of involvement does cost businesses a significant amount in time and staffing.
Organisations can benefit from a managed service approach to maintenance when using cloud-to-cloud backup, as all of the ongoing monitoring is handled by the cloud service provider and reported back to the customer in an easily digestible format.
Many providers even offer a cloud-hosted centralised management interface which allows admins to easily overlook their health status reports, retention policies, access management policies, and more from a single location.
Security & Potential Risks
On-site backup is often seen as a more reliable method of protecting company data from hackers, but cases of data breaches due to network infiltration can still be found.
This is because physical storage simply offers companies more control over the security strategies in place, but doesn’t really provide extra security in itself, so choosing not to follow best practices like implementing firewalls can still leave your network vulnerable to attack.
On top of this, on-site backup can leave businesses at risk of data loss due to theft or physical disasters like flooding or fire damage.
As we’ve established, the biggest concern that holds IT decision makers back from moving their data to the cloud is potential security breaches from malicious attacks or negligence on the cloud provider’s part, which is a completely valid concern, but with the right backup provider you can mitigate this risk greatly.
Most C2C backup providers offer data encryption both in transit and at rest, with some even offering encryption that prevents their own internal team from seeing your data, addressing any concerns of insider threats or malicious account compromise. It’s also common for providers to include additional security measures such as multi-factor authentication, IP address login restrictions, and role-based administration.
Although there have been some notable cloud storage hacks in the last few years, cloud backup is still just as secure as on-premise solutions when you look at the bigger picture – and arguable even more secure when it comes to protecting SaaS data specifically. Security aside, cloud-to-cloud backup still comes out on top when it comes to simplified installation, ongoing maintenance, and flexible storage, making it especially ideal for SMBs due to the overall ease-of-use and low demand for internal involvement.
For those who are considering moving to a cloud-to-cloud backup service, it’s highly recommended to seek out a provider with secure encryption as well as multi-factor authentication.
About the Author: Hayleigh Bissette
Hayleigh Bissette is a Marketing Executive and content creator at Altinet Ltd, a cybersecurity service provider located in Leeds, UK. To see more of Hayleigh’s blogs, reports, and other content pieces, follow Altinet on Twitter or LinkedIn.